Using an extended enterprise learning management system (LMS) that can be accessed by your employees, your customers, and your partners will help boost your business through improved training and knowledge
Organisations want to use training opportunities to upskill staff, onboard new employees and have a reference point for important company policies and guidelines. Yet not everyone who may need this training will be an employee — so how can you do this without setting up multiple learning management systems?
There are solutions available to those brands who want to ensure anyone outside their organisation — such as partners, for example, or even customers — can use their products and provide services in the correct way. Here’s what you need to know about an extended enterprise LMS, and how it can enhance training for your brand.
What is an extended enterprise LMS?
An LMS is a software platform that lets you create, deliver and report on training programmes and courses . An extended enterprise LMS, however, is a solution to help you train multiple audiences through a single platform.
Extended enterprise LMSs can also be called multi-tenancy LMSs, because you can divide your platform into ‘mini-LMSs’, or portals. These portals are website pages an individual will use to access the LMS. They’ll have their own profile and can begin the courses on which they have been enrolled. Many extended enterprise LMSs will have a hierarchical setup, ie a top-level portal with sub-portals.
Another way to consider it is that an extended enterprise LMS can be a bespoke option for businesses, says Digits’ LMS sales manager, Andrea Matkin: “Our LMS is an out-of-the-box solution that’s both configurable for our users and feature-rich, with updates available to all. Our extended enterprise LMS also offers greater customisation and more flexibility – it’s a separate, bespoke installation where updates can be made for just one brand.”
Some of the types of audiences who may use an extended LMS for training, in addition to employees, include:
- Customers: there are many benefits to training customers on how to use the service or product you offer – such as higher retention, an increased chance to upsell, and better product adoption. Some companies also create corporate universities to boost their brand in the market
- Partners: these can be resellers, dealers or contractors, for example. Onboarding and learning can be used in training here, along with growing your own business by strengthening your network
Here’s one example of how an extended enterprise LMS could work for you. Your top-level portal can be used to train your employees, for onboarding, compliance and other training. Sub-portals can then be used to train those outside of your organisation – your ‘extended enterprise’.
Benefits of extended enterprise LMS
Using an extended enterprise LMS can help your organisation stand out against competitors because you can offer training to customers and external employees, who can then help to build your brand’s reputation and place in the market. The platform’s reporting capabilities will help you track training and performance, and the solution will also be customisable, creating a tailored experience for you and your external learners. The benefits of implementing an extended enterprise LMS include:
Training for a range of groups: with an extended enterprise LMS, you don’t need to have one LMS to do everything for your organisation. It means you can have a distinct corporate LMS, plus an extended LMS for customers or contractors, so they can become more familiar with your products and services, and how to make full use of them. External employees, such as contractors, can also learn about company policies, and develop their product knowledge and sales skills, for example.
Stronger brand: offering partners, customers and employees the same standard of training, will strengthen and support your brand image. Arranging training for your users means they will be better brand ambassadors for your services and products, building on your brand image and amplifying your position within your industry.
Better reporting: the impact of extended enterprise learning on your business can be measured. You can compile reports on training that’s been completed in your external groups, or compare the performance and engagement of groups who have had training versus those who haven’t. The analytics tools available in your extended LMS can also help you assess learner progress and find opportunities for support, thanks to metrics such as assessment scores and employee engagement ratings.
Customisation: your extended enterprise LMS should have a user-friendly interface that you can customise with your organisation’s branding, as well as distinct sub-brands for each group of learners.
Top extended enterprise LMS implementation tips
So you’ve decided on the extended enterprise LMS you want to use for your organisation – all you need to do now is implement and launch it. Here are a few points to consider when implementing your new extended enterprise LMS.
Set a date: timelines for implementation vary: it can take just a day or even up to a year, but for many, it will be only a couple of months. Having a go-live date will keep you on track and be ready to launch when you need to. You may wish to launch your LMS by a certain date because of new regulations, for instance, or to support the release of a new product.
Set goals: how will your organisation decide if the project has been a success? You need to know what you want to measure before you begin your extended enterprise LMS implementation, so you can compare metrics from before launch and after, and consider the reports you want to track key performance indicators (KPIs). You’ll need to understand milestones, what’s achievable, and how key metrics will be measured and analysed.
Plan your structure: having a structure that works for your company will help manage and deliver training effectively to your audiences. If you’ll have several portals, you’ll need to decide which will be the top portal (for many, this is the employee training one) and which will be sub-portals. You’ll need to name and brand your portals, and decide who will manage them, ahead of launch.
Create a team: you’ll need a core team that’s responsible for implementation and be a point of contact for decisions. This team will include people with a range of roles (such as project managers, IT architects, and learning and development managers) and may also include in-house experts, third-party vendors, and consultants, depending on your budget. It’s likely that an extended team will manage training, course materials and registration after your LMS implementation.
Test your LMS: you should do a pilot roll-out to test your LMS with internal staff or external users before final implementation. You can do this to check items such as course delivery, tracking, report generation and user profiles, for example. Conduct a user acceptance test to get feedback on LMS functions, so you can check what a user would need in the system and test these points.
Types of extended enterprise LMS
There are myriad options available to corporate brands searching for an extended enterprise LMS. So what is it you should consider with this software?
At Digits, our solutions can be configured with comprehensive user and management plans that can be customised to your needs – which will help you achieve your learning objectives. Each portal can be customised using our range of application widgets so the learning experience can be personalised and to ensure it meets the needs of your business and your learners.
Both your formal and informal learning portfolio across your organisation can be managed by allocating content, workshops and learning journeys to certain people, teams and locations. And you can monitor your KPIs with dashboards and custom reports, so you can make informed decisions about how to upskill your employees. Our expert support team will also help you get the most from your learning system.
“When configuring your LMS, you need to ask what your plan is and map it out beforehand,” says Matkin. “What do you want to have on the homepage? Who will use it – and for what purpose? How do you want to show both compliance and mandatory training, and optional career development opportunities? Thinking about the end-to-end process when you are choosing a provider – and certainly before you begin an implementation process – will prevent headaches further down the line.”
If an extended enterprise LMS would be a great option for your organisation, then the next thing to do will be to request a demonstration or download our brochure. You’ll get to experience our extended enterprise LMS, so you can assess our solution for yourself – and start improving your business through employee training.